MLS Regular Season
We haven't crowned a 2013 champion yet, but for FC Dallas fans, today is the day that focus turns to next season as we unveil the full 2014 schedule. Here are a few highlights:
Spring into soccer
You're going to have a bunch of opportunities to see FCD at home early in the year. Five of the first seven games in 2014 are at home. In addition, the first two games away from Toyota Stadium are road-trippable affairs at Sporting Kansas City and Houston, so for die-hard FC Dallas fans, catching the first seven games of the year is a realistic proposition.
Saturday nights in Frisco
Whatever plans you have for Saturday nights from March through October, you might want to adjust them. 12 of the 17 home games in 2014 are Saturday night affairs including five of the first seven games. Also returning in 2014 are the popular 8:00PM kickoffs during the summer.
Friday night's alright for soccer
One interesting feature of the 2014 schedule is the appearance of two Friday night kickoffs. FCD has only played two Friday games in the history of Toyota Stadium with one of those coming on the traditional Fourth of July game. One of the two Friday night games this year will be the July 4 game against the Philadelphia Union while on Friday, August 22, Dallas will host Real Salt Lake.
Only twice this year will FCD have the much-maligned three match weeks and both of them fall in an incredibly busy month of May. Dallas will play seven games in all through the month of May with grueling three-match weeks on May 4-10 and May 17-24.
Western Conference showdown
In an effort to enhance the run in to the playoffs, MLS has backloaded the schedules with intra-conference matchups. 13 of the final 14 matches of the season will pit FCD against Western Conference foes including two matches against both Los Angeles and Vancouver in the final two months of the season.
World Cup break
As we did in 2010, Major League Soccer will be shutting down for two weeks during the 2014 FIFA World Cup group stage. FC Dallas will not take the field between Wednesday, June 11's match at Portland and Saturday, June 28's match in Columbus. In addition, FCD will not hit the Toyota Stadium field in MLS action for almost a month between June 7 and July 4, though a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game or two could hit Frisco during that month.
So who's ready to kick off the season?
We're down to the final 16 of the MLSsoccer.com Save of the Year competition! Raul Fernandez had three saves nominated and while we're still waiting to see if one of them advanced to the round of 16, we know that two of the Peruvians saves have made it to the second round. In fact, they're matched up against each other in today's vote!
Now here's where it gets tricky, we don't want to vote equally and have neither of them advance so we're encouraging all FCD fans to vote for Raul's save vs. Los Angeles to up the votes for that one and get Superman into the final round of Save of the Year voting! You can vote through 1:59AM on Thursday, November 14 so get to clicking!
We've reached the final 16 of MLSsoccer.com's 2013 Latino del Año competition and two FC Dallas players have advanced past the group stage..
Placed in a tough group with Erick "Cubo" Torres, Fabian Espindola and Marvin Chavez, FCD goalkeeper Raul Fernandez advanced out of the group with over 70% of the vote and he's been placed against San Jose's Honduran defender Victor Bernardez. For obvious reasons, we can't let Bernardez win this matchup so vote in the poll and send Raul Fernandez to the final eight!
WATCH: Llave 7
Also in the final 16 is FC Dallas forward Blas Perez who has been matched up against Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. Blas vanquished Jairo Arrieta, Juninho and Javier Morales to win his group and advance as the top seed from group E.
WATCH: Llave 8
As you can see in the bracket above, should they both win, Blas and Raul would be matched up against each other in the final eight, guaranteeing an FCD player in the final four of the tournament so get to voting for our latin duo of Raul and Blas!
Full match highlights from FC Dallas' 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.
GOAL: Walter Martinez gives the Earthquakes a 1-0 lead in the first half.
GOAL: Chris Wondolowski doubles the lead with a rocket from the right side of the box.
WATCH: MLS Original Ramiro Corrales subs off to a standing ovation in his final match.
GOAL: Stephen Keel scores his first of the season to cut the lead in half late.
It was a banner weekend for FCD's loanees last weekend with four goals scored and some huge wins. Here's the roundup:
HIGHLIGHTS: Strikers 6, Silverbacks 2
Forward Bradlee Baladez doubled his goal tally for the season scoring twice in Fort Lauderdale's 6-2 thumping of Atlanta. Baladez entered in the 64th minute and subsequently scored the Strikers' final two goals in the 67th and 83rd minutes of the big win. Baladez has four goals in ten appearances this season for the NASL side. Fort Lauderdale encourages you to vote Baladez for NASL Play of the Week!
Goalkeeper Richard Sanchez tallied his fifth win of the season in goal for the Strikers who have two games left in the season.
Warshaw scores twice in Sweden
In Sweden, Bobby Warshaw continued his red-hot time with Angelholms FF. Warshaw scored the first two goals of Angelholms' 5-2 win over Varnamo, their second-straight win and fifth-straight game unbeaten. Warshaw has six goals in seven appearances for the Superettan side that sits comfortably in mid-table with two games left to play.
Down in Costa Rica, Saprissa defeated Limon 5-1 moving back into first place in the league, though Moises Hernandez did not feature in the game.
It's been a very solid sophmore season for Matt Hedges and the UNC-graduate capped 2013 with a game-winning goal in Saturday's 2-0 win over Seattle. For his efforts, Hedges has been named to MLSsoccer.com's team of the week for week 34, the next to last week of the season. Matt tied for the game-high with 12 clearances in Saturday's win and with a likely start ahead of him in this weekend's season finale will finish with 33 appearances and 32 starts in 34 MLS Regular Season games.
MLS had this to say about Hedges' performance:
DF: Matt Hedges (FC Dallas) – Not only did Hedges lead the FC Dallas defense to a clean sheet in Schellas Hyndman's home farewell, a 2-0 win over Seattle, he got forward to open the scoring and spark the Dallas attack after a choppy first hour of play.
Full match highlights: FC Dallas 2, Seattle Sounders FC 0
MISS: Lamar Neagle's bicycle attempt goes just wide.
GOAL: Matt Hedges gives FCD the go-ahead goal off Michel's free kick.
GOAL: Michel taps in the insurance goal after a frantic sequence in the box.
Kenny Cooper loves to play the Chicago Fire as a member of FC Dallas. There can be no doubting that.
Cooper scored two more goals against Chicago on Saturday night to up his career tally against the Fire to eight goals in eight matches, making him the all-time FCD leading scorer against their Brimstone Cup rivals.
For his effort, Cooper was named to the MLSSoccer.com week 33 Team of the Week.
Said MLSsoccer.com about Cooper: FW: Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas) – Unfortunate to be on the losing end after a commendable two-goal effort against Chicago to make it three goals in two games for the big striker. His resurgence may have come too late to save Dallas this season, but it should bode well for his and the team's chances in 2014.
Limited tickets are still available for FC Dallas Fan Appreciation Day this Saturday, October 19. Fans with a ticket to Saturday's match are welcome to enjoy an EPL viewing party, a player autograph session, FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders FC presented by Degree Men and more!
VIEWING PARTY: The Toyota Stadium gates will open extra early on Saturday morning (11 a.m.) as FCD will be hosting a viewing party of Manchester City vs. West Ham United on a portable big screen on the North Concourse. That match is scheduled to kick of at 11:30 a.m. CT as NBC's lead-in to the broadcast of the FC Dallas game live from Toyota Stadium.
FREE FOOD: Attendees of Saturday morning's viewing party will be offered free CiCi's pizza (while supplies last) and can take advantage of some exclusive pre-game drink specials (cash only, good until 1 p.m.).
MERCH DEALS: The first 100 fans who make a purchase of $25 or more at the FC Dallas Team Shop will receive a free Fathead. Special gameday offers in the Team Shop also include $25 off jerseys and $5 off hats.
AUTOGRAPH SESSION: Fans are also encouraged to arrive early on Saturday morning to take part in an autograph session featuring select FC Dallas players on the North Concourse.
GIVEAWAYS: The first 5,000 people through the gates will receive FC Dallas Player Face Fans presented by Degree Men.
SKYDIVER: Just before kickoff, witness retired Sgt. First Class Dana Bowman as he parachutes into Toyota Stadium.
2013 HOME FINALE: Cheer on your FC Dallas in the final home game of 2013 against Clint Dempsey and Seattle Sounders FC presented by Degree Men in a match that will be nationally televised on NBC.
POST-GAME MATCH: All fans are encouraged to stay after FCD takes on the Sounders and cheer on your Special Olympics FC Dallas Team in a friendly game against FC Dallas Youth.
All you need in order to attend FC Dallas Fan Appreciation Day is a ticket to Saturday's game, so BUY YOURS NOW!